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woensdag, mei 09, 2012

Messi's four farewells Pep

Lionel Messi hugs Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola after scoring his third goal in the derby against Espanyol.
Lionel Messi hugs Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola after scoring his third goal in the derby against Espanyol.
  • Lionel Messi takes his La Liga tally to 50 goals this season with four against Espanyol
  • Derby match marks coach Pep Guardiola's final home game before stepping down
  • Messi is five goals clear of Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of closing round next weekend
  • Argentina star has now scored 72 times for his club in all competitions this season

(CNN) -- Real Madrid may have ended Barcelona's Spanish title reign in midweek, but Lionel Messi is poised to dethrone Cristiano Ronaldo as La Liga's goal king after adding four more to his tally on Saturday.

The three-time world player of the year paid the ultimate tribute to Josep Guardiola in the coach's final home game, which ended in a 4-0 victory over city rivals Espanyol.

The Argentina forward went into the match having already broken Gerd Muller's longstanding record of 67 goals in a European season, and he took his tally to an incredible 72 ahead of next weekend's closing league game at Real Betis.

Fifty of those have come in La Liga, putting him five clear of Ronaldo -- who also scored in Saturday's 2-1 win at Granada that kept Real seven points clear of Barca.

Guardiola to end Barcelona reign
Real Madrid players lift Jose Mourinho after winning the Spanish title for the 32nd time. The Portuguese coach has also won league titles in Portugal, England and Italy.Real Madrid players lift Jose Mourinho after winning the Spanish title for the 32nd time. The Portuguese coach has also won league titles in Portugal, England and Italy.
Real Madrid supporters celebrate their team's triumph, which was clinched with two games to play after a 3-0 win at Athletic Bilbao. Real Madrid supporters celebrate their team's triumph, which was clinched with two games to play after a 3-0 win at Athletic Bilbao.
Gonzalo Higuain celebrates his opener for Real against Bilbao. It was followed by goals from Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo.Gonzalo Higuain celebrates his opener for Real against Bilbao. It was followed by goals from Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bilbao's Javi Martinez was sent off late in the match at San Mames. His team had been expected to put up a tough test, having reached the final of the Europa League this season.Bilbao's Javi Martinez was sent off late in the match at San Mames. His team had been expected to put up a tough test, having reached the final of the Europa League this season.
Barcelona may have lost the Spanish title after a three-year reign, but Lionel Messi broke Gerd Muller's longstanding record for goals in a European season. Messi's eighth hat-trick this season in the 4-1 win over Malaga took him to 68 overall and 46 in La Liga -- two ahead of Ronaldo.Barcelona may have lost the Spanish title after a three-year reign, but Lionel Messi broke Gerd Muller's longstanding record for goals in a European season. Messi's eighth hat-trick this season in the 4-1 win over Malaga took him to 68 overall and 46 in La Liga -- two ahead of Ronaldo.
As Real triumphed in Spain, Ajax Amersterdam won the Dutch league for the second year in a row as coach Frank de Boer's team beat VVV Venlo 2-0.As Real triumphed in Spain, Ajax Amersterdam won the Dutch league for the second year in a row as coach Frank de Boer's team beat VVV Venlo 2-0.
Mourinho's mission accomplished
Real Madrid's La Liga triumphReal Madrid's La Liga triumph
Josep Guardiola gave an emotional press conference as he confirrmed widespread speculation that he will end his four-year reign as Barcelona coach. Josep Guardiola gave an emotional press conference as he confirrmed widespread speculation that he will end his four-year reign as Barcelona coach.
Guardiola announced his intent to quit at the end of this season just three days after the club's Champions League semifinal exit against Chelsea, drawing 2-2 at home and losing 3-2 on aggregate.Guardiola announced his intent to quit at the end of this season just three days after the club's Champions League semifinal exit against Chelsea, drawing 2-2 at home and losing 3-2 on aggregate.
He was massively popular at the Camp Nou after four trophy-laden seasons. Here he is thrown in the air by his players after winning the FIFA Club World Cup for the second time in December 2011, having been the first team from Spain to win it two years earlier.He was massively popular at the Camp Nou after four trophy-laden seasons. Here he is thrown in the air by his players after winning the FIFA Club World Cup for the second time in December 2011, having been the first team from Spain to win it two years earlier.
Guardiola congratulates Barca players Cesc Fabregas and Javier Mascherano after winning the Spanish Supercup against Real Madrid at the start of the 2011-12 season.Guardiola congratulates Barca players Cesc Fabregas and Javier Mascherano after winning the Spanish Supercup against Real Madrid at the start of the 2011-12 season.
Guardiola lifts the 2011Champions League trophy after Barca beat Manchester United at Wembley. The 41-year-old has earned a reputation as a coach who prepares meticulously for matches.
Guardiola lifts the 2011Champions League trophy after Barca beat Manchester United at Wembley. The 41-year-old has earned a reputation as a coach who prepares meticulously for matches.
Guardiola won the FIFA Men's Football Coach of the Year award in January 2012. "I can't promise you silverware, but I can say that we'll keep on battling to the end and you'll be proud of us," he said after becoming coach four years ago.Guardiola won the FIFA Men's Football Coach of the Year award in January 2012. "I can't promise you silverware, but I can say that we'll keep on battling to the end and you'll be proud of us," he said after becoming coach four years ago.
In the 2009 calendar year, Guardiola won six trophies in total -- the Copa del Rey, La Liga, the European Champions League, the Spanish Supercup, the UEFA Supercup and the Club World Cup.In the 2009 calendar year, Guardiola won six trophies in total -- the Copa del Rey, La Liga, the European Champions League, the Spanish Supercup, the UEFA Supercup and the Club World Cup.
Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta shakes hands with Guardiola on June 5, 2008. The Catalan club's 15th coach arrived with the mission to end a two-season trophy drought -- he didn't disappoint.Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta shakes hands with Guardiola on June 5, 2008. The Catalan club's 15th coach arrived with the mission to end a two-season trophy drought -- he didn't disappoint.
As a player, Guardiola spent more than a decade in Barcelona's senior team, winning six Spanish titles and one European Cup. He captained Spain to a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and went to the 1994 World Cup. <br/><br/>
As a player, Guardiola spent more than a decade in Barcelona's senior team, winning six Spanish titles and one European Cup. He captained Spain to a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and went to the 1994 World Cup.
He joined Barca's famed La Masia youth academy in 1984, and wore the No. 4 shirt until leaving for Italy in 2001.He joined Barca's famed La Masia youth academy in 1984, and wore the No. 4 shirt until leaving for Italy in 2001.
He had two spells at Serie A side Brescia either side of a brief time at Roma, and is pictured playing against Perugia in 2002.He had two spells at Serie A side Brescia either side of a brief time at Roma, and is pictured playing against Perugia in 2002.
Guardiola left Europe to join Qatar's Al-Ahly from 2003 to 2005, then joined Mexico's Dorades de Sinaloa for a season before finally hanging up his boots.Guardiola left Europe to join Qatar's Al-Ahly from 2003 to 2005, then joined Mexico's Dorades de Sinaloa for a season before finally hanging up his boots.
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The end of an era: Josep GuardiolaThe end of an era: Josep Guardiola
Barcelona's players are the best paid in the world according to a new report. The team kept its No. 1 place on the earnings table with each player taking home an average annual salary of $8.6 million (�5.2 million). That's a whopping $166,934 (�101,160) per week and a 10% rise on last year. Barcelona's players are the best paid in the world according to a new report. The team kept its No. 1 place on the earnings table with each player taking home an average annual salary of $8.6 million (�5.2 million). That's a whopping $166,934 (�101,160) per week and a 10% rise on last year.
Spanish football teams continued to dominate the rankings, with Real Madrid keeping its No. 2 spot. It's players earned an average $7.7 million (�4.7 million) - a 6% rise on last year. Cristiano Ronaldo became the most expensive footballer in history in 2009 after moving from Manchester United to Real Madrid in a six-year deal worth $129 million (�80 million).Spanish football teams continued to dominate the rankings, with Real Madrid keeping its No. 2 spot. It's players earned an average $7.7 million (�4.7 million) - a 6% rise on last year. Cristiano Ronaldo became the most expensive footballer in history in 2009 after moving from Manchester United to Real Madrid in a six-year deal worth $129 million (�80 million).
Manchester City moved up the rankings from 10th last year to 3rd in 2012, thanks to an average annual salary of $7.4 million for its players. It's a 26% increase on last year and demonstrates the wealth of the English club's owner Sheikh Monsour.Manchester City moved up the rankings from 10th last year to 3rd in 2012, thanks to an average annual salary of $7.4 million for its players. It's a 26% increase on last year and demonstrates the wealth of the English club's owner Sheikh Monsour.
Russian billionaire Roman Abromovich's Chelsea team climbed the rankings from sixth to fourth, with players earning around $6.7 million a year -- the equivalent of $130,690 a week.Russian billionaire Roman Abromovich's Chelsea team climbed the rankings from sixth to fourth, with players earning around $6.7 million a year -- the equivalent of $130,690 a week.
The first non-soccer entry in the rich list is the LA Lakers. The Americans are also the only bastketballers in the top 10, with players taking home $6.2 million annually -- about $120,732 per week.<br/><br/><br/><br/>The first non-soccer entry in the rich list is the LA Lakers. The Americans are also the only bastketballers in the top 10, with players taking home $6.2 million annually -- about $120,732 per week.
Baseball's New York Yankees have continued to fall in the rankings -- dropping from No. 1 in 2010 to sixth this year. But the MLB team's players can still take comfort from an average yearly salary of $6.1 million -- around �118,968 a week.Baseball's New York Yankees have continued to fall in the rankings -- dropping from No. 1 in 2010 to sixth this year. But the MLB team's players can still take comfort from an average yearly salary of $6.1 million -- around �118,968 a week.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pumped even more money into his football club AC Milan last year. The Serie A champions rose from 14th in the list with players enjoying a yearly salary of $6.1 million, pocketing $117,399 per week.Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pumped even more money into his football club AC Milan last year. The Serie A champions rose from 14th in the list with players enjoying a yearly salary of $6.1 million, pocketing $117,399 per week.
Also rising in the rich list was Germany's Bayern Munich, up from 12th place last year. Players boasted a yearly salary of $5.9 million, taking home $113,609 a week.Also rising in the rich list was Germany's Bayern Munich, up from 12th place last year. Players boasted a yearly salary of $5.9 million, taking home $113,609 a week.
The Philadelphia Phillies are one of just three U.S. teams in the top 10. The baseball franchise's players earned an average $5.8 million a year, or $111,884 per week.The Philadelphia Phillies are one of just three U.S. teams in the top 10. The baseball franchise's players earned an average $5.8 million a year, or $111,884 per week.
Internazionale sneaked into the top 10 with an average yearly salary of $5.7 million for its players. It's a family affair for Italian oil tycoon Massimo Moratti, whose father Angelo also owned the club in the 1950s and '60s.<br/><br/>Internazionale sneaked into the top 10 with an average yearly salary of $5.7 million for its players. It's a family affair for Italian oil tycoon Massimo Moratti, whose father Angelo also owned the club in the 1950s and '60s.
1. Barcelona FC $8.6 million average
2. Real Madrid $7.7 million
3. Manchester City $7.4 million
5. LA Lakers $6.2 million
6. New York Yankees $6.1 million
8. Bayern Munich $5.9 million
9. Philadelphia Phillies $5.8 million
10. Inter Milan $5.7 million
The world's 10 best-paid sports teamsThe world's 10 best-paid sports teams

It was an emotional night at the Camp Nou, where Guardiola said farewell to the fans he has enthralled with his team's magical style of football since taking over in 2008.

"I'll see you all soon, you will never lose me. I will miss you all very much. I'm the one on the losing end," he told the crowd.

Then, referring to his assistant Tito Vilanova, who will take over the top job next season, he added: "I leave you in the best possible hands. You don't know how appreciated I feel when I go home. Thank you all."

Messi opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a superb free-kick, then his second-half treble was aided by two penalties either side of a trademark low left-foot drive.

Ronaldo, who topped the La Liga scoring charts last season with a then record 40 goals, was also on target from the spot as Madrid came from behind to snatch victory.

Granada, battling to avoid relegation, led through Franco Jara in the fifth minute, but the world's most expensive player leveled in the 81st minute after being brought down in the box.

Then, in time added on, David Cortes diverted Karim Benzema's cross into his own net to give Real the chance to finish the season on 100 points with victory next Sunday.

Valencia guaranteed third place -- 29 points behind Barca -- with a 1-0 win over Villarreal, who face a final-day fight to avoid dropping into the bottom three.

Malaga's bid for fourth place suffered a blow with a 2-1 defeat at Atletico Madrid, who are now two points adrift in fifth.

Levante and Mallorca are another point back after the latter side won their clash 1-0.

Second-bottom Sporting Gijon could still survive after a 2-1 win over Betis left the club three points adrift of Zaragoza and Vallecano.

Source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_sport/~3/J-NU5gXDm7U/index.html

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